Writer-director Shane Black returns to the comedy-noir vibe of his 2005 hit Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with this riotously funny thriller set in late-1970s Los Angeles. It's an entertaining mix of hilarious action mayhem, slapstick and violence anchored by Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, who unexpectedly prove to be a superb comedy double-act.
It's 1977, and private detective Holland (Gosling) is searching for a porn star who was spotted alive after dying in a car crash. His investigation leads him to Amelia (Margaret Qualley), who has hired the thug Jackson (Crowe) to keep people off her tail. After beating up Holland, Jackson realises that maybe they should be working together, as other cases seem to be dovetailing around Amelia's politically powerful mother (Kim Basinger). But now Holland and Jackson are being chased by the legendary assassin John Boy (Matt Bomer). And Holland is having a terrible time keeping his bright 13-year-old daughter Holly (Angourie Rice) from getting involved in this dangerous case.
Gosling and Crowe play Holland and Jackson as a classic comedy duo along the lines of Abbott and Costello or Hope and Crosby: bumbling idiots who somehow manage to save the day due to dumb luck and someone smart looking out for them. In this case, their guardian angel is Holly, and young Aussie actress Rice more than holds her own against these A-list stars. Holly is the only person on-screen who has a clue what's actually going on, and Rice effortlessly walks off with the film, giving a knowing performance that's hugely engaging. The other scene-stealer is Bomer, whose slick, overconfident killer is simply screaming to be taken down a peg or two.
Continue reading: The Nice Guys Review
With a premise not much more believable than Snakes on a Plane, this slickly made thriller entertains us from start to finish by never flinching once. It may be utterly ridiculous, but it's played with full-on dedication by a gifted cast and a filmmaker who knows how to ramp up tension out of thin air, so to speak. Yes, it's utterly idiotic, but it's so much fun that we want a sequel even before this film crashes to the ground.
Relapsed alcoholic Air Marshal Bill (Neeson) has far too much personal baggage as he heads to work on a trans-Atlantic flight. Still grieving over his daughter's death as he drinks a bit of coffee with his whiskey, his hopes of a quiet flight are soon dashed when he receives an in-flight text threatening to kill a passenger every 20 minutes if he doesn't pay a huge ransom. So he kicks into action-man gear. But things start getting seriously surreal as he struggles to find anyone on the plane who doesn't look shifty. He seeks assistance from steely stewardess Nancy (Dockery) and too-helpful passenger Jen (Moore). But everyone begins to wonder if Bill might be the real villain here.
Filmmaker Collet-Serra packs the screen with red herrings, as all of the passengers fire wary glances at each other, moan about the general chaos of the flight and do all of those stupid things that make air travel so tiresome. The only thing missing is a screaming baby. Not that you'd hear it above the crazed panic this cat-and-mouse situation induces. It's so frantic that we barely have time to wonder how someone could get on a plane with a briefcase full of cocaine. Or a bomb. So we just hang on as the turbulence escalates.
Continue reading: Non-stop Review
Set in 1947, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' is the story of how cartoon characters known as 'toons' can interact with the living human society. However, after compromising pictures of the human owner of Toontown and Hollywood toon star Roger Rabbit's wife Jessica emerge, he is set up for his subsequent grisly murder and things get tense between the toon world and the real world. Toon hating detective Eddie Valiant is hired to investigate but winds up helping Roger after discovering that he is being framed for a crime he didn't commit. His investigations lead him to the mysterious Judge Doom who's own nature in the toon community is formidable with having found a way to destroy them.
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Ritchie, Downey and Law are back with another manic romp that feels more like a Victorian James Bond adventure than anything about the famed Conan Doyle characters. While it has the same comical energy, it's not quite as fun as the first go-round.
Brilliant Cambridge professor Moriarty (Harris) is up to no good, taking on Holmes (Downey) by messing with those around him, including his girlfriend-nemesis Irene (McAdams) and his partner Watson (Law), who plans to retire after his upcoming wedding to Mary (Reilly). But nothing goes as planned, and Holmes and Watson are propelled into a vicious game of intrigue that sends them to Paris where they team up with a sexy gypsy (Rapace). They also get help from Holmes' brother Mycroft (Fry) as they head to a climactic showdown in Switzerland.
Who needs logic when the action is this wildly exhilarating? And much of it is drastically slowed-down so Ritchie can show us Holmes' powers of deduction as well as whizzing bullets, explosions and other cool-looking things. The dialog is the same mix of faux intelligent banter and shameless innuendo, which gives the actors something to play with, especially as Downey and Law amusingly move beyond bromance into Brokeback territory.
But we do need some logic. This plot is so messy that it never engages us. And as it builds to a climax in a crazy cliff-perched Alpine castle, we begin to lose interest. Even with the bigger action, zingy dialog and colourful characters, this film barely works up any steam. Whenever Holmes isn't being mischievous, Downey actually looks bored. And Rapace is so sidelined that it's difficult to understand why she's here at all; the filmmakers never give her anything interesting to do.
It's a shame the screenwriters never push the characters further. But at least Ritchie keeps things moving briskly, filling the screen with comical nuttiness and big-gun mayhem. Even if Moriarty makes no sense (would someone this intelligent resort to such a ridiculous plan to make his fortune?), Harris adds heft in the role, including some jagged chemistry with Downey. Let's just hope that the requisite third film lets us in on the joke.
On a mission in Bolivia, a five-man black-ops team is betrayed by their power-mad CIA boss Max (Patric) and left for dead. But they embark on a mission to get revenge and clear their names, with Clay (Morgan) leading techie Jensen (Evans), demolition expert Roque (Elba), driver-pilot Pooch (Short) and sniper Cougar (Jaenada). They also enlist the help of a sexy-but-shady woman (Saldana) as they track Max and his vile henchman (McCallany) from Miami to Los Angeles and try to stop his nefarious Bond-like plan.
Continue reading: The Losers Review
RocknRolla is sexy, fast, loose, smart, and extremely funny. It's crammed with colorful criminals, which Ritchie and cinematographer David Higgs backlight to great effect. It chokes on delightfully screwy schemes, which the director and his editor James Herbert slice, tape, and test drive at breakneck speeds. And that's the key. It keeps moving, hardly caring if you are keeping up.
Continue reading: RocknRolla Review
Commando, first released 22 years ago, has the simplest of premises: Arnold Schwarzenegger kills bad guys in every way imaginable for about 90 minutes. That's it. There isn't a subplot about reforming veterans' benefits or an extensive introduction into Latin America's political climate. Commando is one of the best arguments available for the action movie as pure entertainment.
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What they generally aren't is full of capers designed by crackheads in search of comic relief, or a dominatrix dying to destroy the gold market with a Da Vinci alchemy machine only a cat burglar from Hoboken could steal.
Continue reading: Hudson Hawk Review
There you have Osmosis Jones, a combination of clunky live action and cool, creative animation that tries too hard to please both adults and kiddies while journeying inside one disgusting body.
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I remember a time when I used to enjoy Seagal. Such films as Above the Law, Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, Under Siege, and Out for Justice are all solid action films from the '90s. Under Siege is even kind of good. But lately, films like Under Siege 2, Fire Down Below, and The Patriot have shown the age of the Italian stallion of Aikido.
Continue reading: Exit Wounds Review
Writer-director Shane Black returns to the comedy-noir vibe of his 2005 hit Kiss Kiss Bang...
With a premise not much more believable than Snakes on a Plane, this slickly made...
Set in 1947, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' is the story of how cartoon characters known...
Ritchie, Downey and Law are back with another manic romp that feels more like a...
With a Hitchcockian mistaken-identity plot, this film can't help but draw us into its slickly...
Raucous and colourful, this comical action flick should be great fun, but a lack of...
Although it feels like a parallel story taking place at the same time as The...
For a laughably preposterous thriller, this film is slickly made and much longer than expected....
Here's some good news for Guy Ritchie fans. RocknRolla gives off the impression that the...